Bernard Frénicle de Bessy
Bernard Frénicle de Bessy (c. 1605 – 17 January 1675), was a French mathematician born in Paris, who wrote numerous mathematical papers, mainly in number theory and combinatorics. He is best remembered for Des quarrez ou tables magiques, a treatise on magic squares published posthumously in 1693, in which he described all 880 essentially different normal magic squares of order 4. The Frénicle standard form, a standard representation of magic squares, is named after him. He solved many problems created by Fermat and also discovered the cube property of the number 1729, later referred to as a taxicab number.
Like Fermat, Frénicle was an amateur mathematician, but he still corresponded with the likes of Descartes, Huygens, Mersenne and also Fermat, who was his personal friend. His major contributions were in number theory.
He challenged Christiaan Huygens to solve the following system of equations in integers,
- x2 + y2 = z2, x2 = u2 + v2, x − y = u − v.
A solution was given by Théophile Pépin in 1880.
- O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Bernard Frénicle de Bessy", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
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